8 Jun 2010

Hopes new study will raise awareness over decline of Samoan language in NZ

9:34 pm on 8 June 2010

A Samoan Reverend says a new study raising concerns over the Samoan language in New Zealand should motivate people to make changes now.

Victoria University Masters student Salainaoloa Wilson says people need to be aware the Samoan language is coming under pressure with more English being spoken in homes and churches than Samoan.

Reverend Uesifili Unasa from the University of Auckland says while churches remain an important part of Samoan communities here, many young Samoans nowadays tend to attend English speaking congregations.

He admits he hasn't made time to teach his own children Samoan at home, but this study has highlighted its importance and warns people not take the future survival of the Samoan language in New Zealand for granted.

"If the study is indicating a decline in the usage and understanding of the Samoan language, then I think that is a concern for all Samoans. I think the language, as an important part of the Samoan culture, needs to be kept alive and encouraged, and obviously if our new generations are not having contact with the language then they too will lose the contact with their culture."

Reverend Uesifili Unasa